Research Screening Committee Meeting
February 25, 2003

This page updated June 28, 2005.

State of California
AIR RESOURCES BOARD

BOARD MEMBERS' ADVANCE AGENDA

Research Screening Committee Meeting

Cal/EPA Headquarters Building
1001 I Street, Conference Room 530
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 445-0753

February 25, 2003
8:00 a.m.

INTERAGENCY PROPOSALS

1.

"Health Impacts of Ultrafine Particles as a Component of Polluted Air in Vulnerable Populations of Southern California," University of California, Irvine, $1,591,986, Proposal No. 2526-228
  The objective of this study is to examine the effects of ultrafine particulate air pollution on a particularly vulnerable subpopulation, the elderly with existing coronary heart disease (CHD). Many studies have demonstrated an association between increases in ambient PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations and increased hospitalizations due to cardiovascular (CV) symptoms as well as increases in CV-related mortality. Recent research has indicated that exposure to ultrafine particles (particles less than 0.1 microns in diameter) may also be a factor in respiratory and CV disease. However, only a handful of studies have been done and all had limitations in their study protocols, such as single monitors to characterize exposure for entire communities.
  This study intends to fill a major gap in the knowledge about the contribution of UF particles to the better-known PM10 CV health effects. The key improvements over previous research include better estimates of actual exposure to the UF, fine, and coarse components of PM; more complete measures of blood biomarkers of inflammatory and blood clotting-related responses; and intensive periods of monitoring effects of PM component exposures on blood pressure and heartbeat irregularities. This will be a major epidemiology study funded as part of the Vulnerable Population Research Program.
CONTRACT AUGMENTATION

2.

"Environmental Health Conditions in Portable Classrooms," Research Triangle Institute, $100,000,
Contract No. 00-317
  The objective of this augmentation is to statistically describe and analyze the energy and comfort-related characteristics of portable and traditional classrooms in a statewide, representative sample of public
K-12 classrooms. The investigators will use the pertinent data from the main California Portable Classrooms Study, such as that on heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems (HVAC), natural ventilation, and lighting systems. The investigators will characterize the distribution of building factors that were not analyzed in the main study. They will also characterize the relationships among indoor environmental quality measures and key building performance variables, such as building age, ventilation system type, building ventilation conditions, and noise levels. The California Energy Commission is funding this proposal. The results of this study will be used to improve energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality in California schools through improved design, operation, and maintenance of HVAC systems, lighting, and other building systems in California's schools.
FINAL REPORTS

3.

"The Effect of Smoke from Burning Vegetative Residues on Airway Inflammation and Pulmonary Function in Healthy, Asthmatic, and Allergic Individuals," University of California, San Francisco, $374,825, Contract No. 97-322
  The objective of this study is to examine environmental conditions, especially those related to indoor air quality and health risks, in K-12 portable classrooms in California. Investigators first conducted a mail survey of over 1,100 classrooms across the state to obtain data on building design and operation characteristics, the concerns of teachers, and indoor formaldehyde levels. Next, a sample of 201 classrooms was recruited for a field study, and included old and new portables, as well as some traditional classrooms. The investigators measured indoor and outdoor VOCs, aldehydes, PM2.5, PM10, CO, CO2, and mold. They also measured selected allergens and pollutants in the floor dust of selected classrooms. Questionnaires on building ventilation and maintenance practices were administered to the facility manager, and questionnaires on classroom activities and indoor air quality were administered to teachers. The investigators have characterized indoor pollutant levels, ventilation conditions, noise and lighting levels, and teacher complaints. They have also compared the results between portable and traditional classrooms, and characterized the associations between indoor pollutant levels and various building factors such as age, location, building material types, and ventilation factors. The information obtained in this study will be used, along with other available data and information from stakeholder groups, to identify potential indoor environmental quality problems in classrooms, and to recommend actions to the Governor and Legislature for improving indoor environments in California's schools.

4.

"Environmental Health Conditions in Portable Classrooms," Research Triangle Institute, $799,878,
Contract No. 00-317
  The objective of this study is to examine environmental conditions, especially those related to indoor air quality and health risks, in K-12 portable classrooms in California. Investigators conducted a mail survey of over 1,100 classrooms statewide to obtain data on building design and operation characteristics, the concerns of teachers, and indoor formaldehyde levels. A sub-sample of 67 schools was recruited for a field study, and included old, new, and rural portables, as well as some traditional classrooms. The investigators measured indoor and outdoor VOCs, aldehydes, PM2.5, PM10, CO, CO2, and molds in 201 classrooms. They also measured selected allergens and pollutants in the floor dust of the classrooms. Questionnaires on building ventilation and maintenance practices were administered to the facility manager, and questionnaires on indoor air quality ratings were administered to teachers. The investigators have characterized indoor pollutant levels, ventilation conditions, noise and lighting levels, and teacher complaints. They have also compared the results between portable and traditional classrooms, and characterized the associations between indoor pollutant levels and various building factors such as age, location, building material types, and ventilation factors. The information obtained in this study will be used, along with other available data and information from stakeholder groups, to identify potential indoor environmental quality problems in classrooms, and to recommend actions to the Governor and Legislature for improving indoor environments in California's schools.

5.

"Validation of Concentrations Estimated from Air Dispersion Modeling for Source-Receptor Distances of Less than 100 Meters," University of California, Riverside, $150,000, Contract No. 99-319
  People may live or work very near sources of toxic and criteria pollutant emissions, such as dry cleaners, chrome plating plants, and automotive repair facilities. As a result, there is a regulatory need to estimate both short-term and annual average pollutant concentrations and assess the associated risks. However, existing dispersion models were developed using experimental data that did not include any measurements for source-to-receptor distances less than 50 meters and observations of dispersion in the presence of common obstacles, such as buildings, are limited. Thus, concentration estimates made with those models for source-to-receptor distances of less than 50 meters are extrapolations of the experimental results.
  This study provided near-source experimental data for model evaluation and a proposed new model formulation for predicting pollutant concentrations in close proximity to emission sources and in the presence of obstacles, such as buildings, that seriously influence dispersion. Investigators conducted a series of field experiments and corresponding model evaluations representing progressively complex situations. These range from the simplest scenario, flat terrain and an absence of obstacles, to the most complex, which included realistic source configurations and surroundings, such as buildings. Results from this study provide the experimental evidence, evaluations, and proposed methodology to improve our understanding and capability to model near-source exposures for environments typical of the settings where toxic emissions actually occur.

6.

"NARSTO Particulate Matter Science and Policy Needs Assessment: Chapter 5, Spatial and Temporal Characterization," ENVAIR, $14,959, Contract No. 00-304
  In 1999, NARSTO commissioned a report summarizing the state of science for suspended particles in the lower atmosphere, as it is relevant to managing particulate matter (PM) air quality in North America. The report was reviewed by the Committee to Review NARSTO's Assessment of Airborne Particulate Matter, a collaboration of the U.S. National Research Council, the Royal Society of Canada, and the United States-Mexico Foundation for Science. The ARB provided support for preparation of Chapter 6 of the report. This chapter describes spatial and temporal characterization of PM in North America, using both a literature review and analysis of the most recent scientific data. A California perspective was an integral part of the assessment and included case studies for both southern and central California.
  The principal conclusions of Chapter 6 pertaining to management of PM in California are that, in the United States, the highest annual PM10 averages are recorded at sites in California, especially in the San Joaquin Valley and the Imperial Valley. Fine particulate measurements made since 1980s in California provide a long-term record confirming that mean fine PM mass concentrations in southern California and the San Joaquin Valley typically exceed the annual-average fine PM standard. It was concluded that particulate-control strategies that reduce the frequency and magnitude of high PM mass concentrations will help reduce the annual mean, though in many instances (e.g., California sites), elimination of the highest concentrations will not suffice to bring the annual averages below the U.S. annual. It was also concluded that when local concentrations are dominated
by long-range transport, PM control strategies need to account for the impact of multiple distant sources on PM concentrations. Intercontinental transport of dust should be tracked, allowing for exclusion of rare and unmanageable events from PM management. The final document which has received extensive review by nationally and internationally recognized scientists, provides a firm scientific foundation to support regulatory action and addresses air quality policy goals.

7.

"Review of Source Apportionment Techniques for Airborne Particulate Matter," University of California, Davis, $13,075, Contract No. 00-332
  Strategies to reduce particulate air pollution typically focus on reductions of emissions at the source. Source apportionment techniques can calculate the contribution that different sources make to airborne particulate matter concentrations. The investigator conducted a thorough review of statistical and mechanistic source apportionment techniques for airborne PM and discussed limitations and uncertainties in the source apportionment calculations. Ten models that calculate the contribution that different sources make to airborne particulate matter were reviewed. The source apportionment methods are shown to provide a continuous spectrum of capabilities with increasingly detailed information provided as the amount of input data expands.
  The results of this study indicate that unique chemical tracers were identified in the literature for wood combustion, motor vehicle exhaust, coal combustion, meat cooking, and several other source categories. It was also found that unique chemical profiles could be constructed for many other sources of interest even if unique chemical tracers were not available. Finally, the design of emissions control strategies for airborne particulate matter can be best accomplished through the use of multiple source apportionment models applied in several phases. This project led to improved knowledge of state-of-the art PM source apportionment models and a better understanding of the sources of PM in the ambient air. This improved understanding will help in developing more cost effective control programs to reduce PM pollution.

8.

"Assessment of the Ozone and Aerosol Forming Potentials (Reactivities) of Organic Compounds Over the Eastern United States," Georgic Tech Research Corporation, $15,000, Contract No. 00-339
  Since 1990, the California Air Resources Board has adopted two reactivity-based VOC regulations, which use the Maximum Incremental Reactivity (MIR) scale which is based on a simple box model simulation of a single day. The U.S. EPA is concerned about the validity of reactivity values based on a simple model and the applicability of reactivity on a national scale. To help address their concerns, the Reactivity Research Working Group, a group of academic, governmental, and industry representatives, funded three modeling studies that examine reactivity in other areas of the U.S. besides California. One of the three studies, co-funded by the ARB, employed a
three-dimensional photochemical air quality model to assess spatially and temporally resolved absolute and relative reactivities of 32 explicit and 8 lumped organic compounds and CO in eastern United States. The results indicate that despite the variability (both spatial and temporal) in the absolute reactivities, relative reactivities were fairly constant. Three types of domain-wide reactivity metrics considered in this study showed a high level of interspecies consistency among them and a good level of consistency for different episodes, scenarios, and domains. In addition, domain-wide metrics were comparable with Carter's MIR values derived using a box model. We believe that it may help the U.S. EPA to expedite the approval process for the California Aerosol Coatings Regulation for SIP credit, and to move forward with a revised VOC control policy (advance Notice Proposed Rulemaking) based on reactivity concept on a national level.

9.

"Air Pollutant Exposure Associated with Distributed Electricity Generation," University of California, Berkeley, $13,441, Contract No. 01-341
  In California, electricity production is a significant contributor to statewide emissions of toxic and criteria air pollutants. Most of the State's electricity is produced at large, regulated power plants. However, "distributed generation," or the generation of electricity near its place of use, may be an important future source of electricity. A shift from central electric generation could lead to a proliferation of small distributed-generation units in proximity to residential areas. Under these conditions, people living near these emission sources may be exposed to higher pollutant levels, leading to increased adverse health burdens. UCB assessed the air pollutant exposure implications of a shift in electricity generation from central station power plants to distributed generation in California. The project involved analysis of existing emissions inventory data and the use of modeling tools to predict annual average pollutant concentrations adjacent to power plants and distributed generation units. Calculated population-weighted pollutant exposures were found to be higher for distributed generation technologies than for conventional power plants.
OTHER BUSINESS

10.

"Selection of Grantees for Developing Air Monitoring Technology"
  Research Division is pursuing the development of new air monitoring instruments via the Innovative Clean Air Technologies (ICAT) grant program. The goal is inexpensive, easily used technology that can be deployed widely to assess local air quality. Half of the funds for grants will be provided by the California Energy Commission (CEC), via a contract with ARB. We and CEC are reviewing 13 proposals invited from pre-proposals sent in response to a general solicitation. We will ask RSC at its April meeting to review our selections for recommendation to the Board for grants.

11.

VPRP Preproposals Review
  Staff released a request for pre-proposals to investigate the health effects of air pollution on vulnerable populations. We received seven pre-proposals, which were reviewed by our External Advisory Committee for the Vulnerable Population Research Program. The Committee and staff concluded that two of the seven proposed studies should be considered for future review as full proposals and possible funding. The two pre-proposals include a study of the effects of air polllution on birth effects in women living near major highways and a study of the respiratory health of predominantly non-white children associated with long term exposure to traffic. A third study on the effects of wood smoke on respiratory health was also considered worthy for further consideration as a full proposal. Although the Committee felt it may not define a vulnerable population study, woodsmoke is still an important air pollution health risk.


Research Screening Committee

preload